Affect or Effect

There is much confusion between affect and effect.

Affect is the verb.  Effect is the noun.  Usually.

"The speech affected me; it had an effect on me."

Affect as a verb most often means "to influence, touch, impact, impress, or change" someone or something.  (How students dress affects attitude.)

Affect is also used in medicine when meaning "to attack".  (The drugs can affect the heart.)

Less often affect means "to feign" or "to cultivate" (as in She seems to affect a Southern accent when she speaks in the South) 

Affect as a noun (mostly in psychology) means "a feeling or emotion".

Effect as a noun usually means "the result".
Effect as a verb means "to accomplish" as in "effect change"

You would also choose effect for:
personal effects (belongings or goods)
"in effect"
special effects
sound effects
side effects
"take/taken effect"
"to the effect"
"goes into effect"
"just for effect"
"cause and effect"
"give the effect"
"the desired effect"

Helpful Mnemonics:
1.  Think of the word RAVEN- "Remember: Affect Verb, Effect Noun" or the word VANE – Verb Affect, Noun Effect

2.  An upside down "A" looks like a "V".  Sort of.  Anyway, it works for me to remember that affect is the verb.  Usually.

3.  Verbs are often Action words and Affect and action both start with the letter "A".

4.  affect is the act
      effect is the result

Ready to practice?
Take the OWL quiz.

Or try this shorter one.

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